This post is going to be a (rather long) double update: One for the REACH Center and one for the fill appointments both on Monday of this week.
Things seem to be going well in terms of growing my half-babies (thanks, Siobhan, for that term). Even my strange little voodoo magic episode of the disappearing powder on Saturday doesn’t seem to have set me back too far.
I went in on Monday morning for bloodwork and ultrasound and waited with almost baited breath to hear the results. They called me back later that morning with the only instructions being to increase my Gonal-F dose to 175IUs for the next two days. Not bad.
Last night I went with a couple of friends to see The Book of Mormon (very funny but not for the easily offended), which put a little dent in my injection plan. I packed a cooler for the injections to keep in my car, and we met for dinner at 6pm uptown because it’s restaurant week and we can’t miss that! The show started at 7:30pm, so I was going to have to do the injection as close to 7:30 as possible. And, since I didn’t want to get caught mixing drugs and shooting up in the Blumenthal’s bathroom, I decided to trek back to my car after dinner and do it there. In the sketchy parking garage. But it went off without a hitch, and I made it back just in time for the show to start.
I went back to REACH early this morning for more bloodwork and ultrasound where I got to see my little future first-rounders getting bigger. Got the phone call back this afternoon with my instructions for the next couple of days, and I have been cleared to add Cetrotide to my injections tonight and tomorrow night. This is the third injection that prevents me from ovulating. Each box is a single dose which must be refrigerated and mixed at the proper injection time. I have about 6 boxes of this in my fridge.
We are getting closer to the harvest (ugh, that word) with every day!
And now for the infamous port fill. I’m calling it infamous, because I do believe I have solidified a reputation in Dr. Criswell’s office.
This appointment was supposed to be with a nurse, and they had scheduled it with one who said she prided herself on being able to find difficult ports, but they didn’t even let her try this one. My appointment was supposed to be at 3pm, but they called me around 2:15 to ask if I could come in early. Dr. C had finished up her operations for the day (they wanted her to be available for my fill “just in case”), and I’m guessing they thought they’d be able to go home early. Lol.
Anyway, my mom and I got there about 2:30pm and were taken to a room. My favorite nurse, Michelle, came in to start setting up. We had previously talked about doing 100ccs of saline in each this time since we essentially missed a week and I am on a bit of a time crunch. Dr. C walked in a couple of minutes later just to check and make sure we were good to go ahead with the fill and to make sure she could put her hands on the port so she could direct the nurse on how to reach it. However, as usual, things did not go according to plan.
She wasn’t able to find the port immediately, so she had to take over. The poor nurse was out before she’d even had a chance to start. At the last appointment, Dr. C had taken a picture of where the port was located with her phone and sent the nurse out to find the picture for reference. But 45 minutes later, no one had been able to find the picture, and the port was still nowhere to be found. She had worked her way up and down my side looking for it. Poking, pinching and prodding with her fingers, small needles, large needles, you name it. I would not have lasted as long as I did had I still had feeling in the area she was working. There is a section that is starting to come back, but it was a little far from where we thought the port could be, so she didn’t spend a whole lot of time there. She spent enough, but not so much that I had to make her stop.
About 30 minutes into it I remembered that I should be praying. I’m not exactly one of those “ask and you shall receive” type people. I believe God takes a more hands-off approach to the world. Or at least when it comes to the smaller, more individual needs of people—I kind of feel like he’s got his hands full just trying to keep us all from destroying eachother as a whole. Either way, I’m sure he works in more mysterious, and less obvious ways (Like Lil Dicky said, “Why can’t earth be like a small side project for this guy?!”). I also figured this was Dr. Criswell’s issue and God has more important things to worry about, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.
Anyway, another half an hour went by and still no port. At this point I was doing my best to hold back tears. I’ve gotten rather good at this lately, and thank goodness, because I knew if I started crying she would stop. There’s no crying in baseball, and there’s certainly no crying in boob hell.
For those who aren’t familiar with the port-finding process (and I hope you never have to be), she finds a spot she thinks it may be sitting, sticks me with the needle and draws back on the syringe to see if it pulls back blue liquid. During my mastectomy they filled the expanders with this blue saline so they’d know when they hit the port. This keeps them from injecting my body with a bunch of saline and helps them keep tabs on exactly how much they are filling the expanders and how much they will need to fill the real implants at the next surgery. However, after 3-4 drawbacks on a single syringe and only getting blood, that one is considered contaminated and it is time to get a new one. She wasted 3 or 4 syringes at this appointment.
After about an hour and 15 minutes, (thank goodness I’d gotten there early), Dr. C told the nurses to start packing it in. She’d caused quite a bit of trauma to my tissue and knew it was time to let me go home and ice it. But, as they were packing up, she was still feeling around, and all of a sudden, we both felt something move. And, like a deer in the headlights, or a dog hearing their beloved owner’s keys in the lock after a long day home alone, we both perked up.
“I felt that!” I said.
“Me too!” she said.
Dr. C had the nurse bring her one more syringe (needle attached), and she stuck it in. We all held our breath as she got the needle situated and drew back on the syringe.
I have never been so happy to see blue liquid in all my life.
She put in 50ccs (all the syringe will hold) and attached another one filled with 50 more. As we watched my left boob grow, she asked if we could do 150. I said, “Please!”
But as she started injecting the third, I started getting nervous. Maybe I was used to the months of living with them smaller, or maybe the sensation of my skin tightening was concerning but it was getting uncomfortably big in an uncomfortably short amount of time. So I had her stop at 125 and figured I can always go bigger (or smaller) at the implant surgery.
Dr. C let the nurse do the right side, who had to leave the room before she could fill it to get more supplies. She needed to restock the room since my left side had cleaned it out. While she was gone, I let myself breathe a sigh of relief. This day had gone south so quickly, but here we were back on top of the world again! This emotional roller coaster is no joke.
As the nurse was filling the right side (that went in on the first stick), someone popped their head in the door with the picture they’d been looking for. I couldn’t help but laugh. Too little, too late. (#EncryptionSoftware) Not that it would have helped anyway.
And I’ll swear to the fact that I heard them breathe sighs of relief when we walked out of the lobby area to the elevator. I don’t blame them. I did too.
The next day, I woke up bruised, swollen, and extremely sore to the touch. But I’m happy with my size now. My bras fit perfectly, and I feel like “me” again…ish.
That will be the last fill I ever get.